“To see her smile when she sees me is all the thanks that I need”
The Australian Government Community Visitors Scheme has been providing social companionship to Aged Care facilities in the Northern Region for the past 30 years.
The Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) provides friendship and companionship by matching volunteers with aged care residents who are isolated or at risk of social isolation or loneliness.
CVS aims to improve quality of life for the aged care residents by reducing their feelings of loneliness, improving their mental well-being, giving them a sense of purpose and connecting them with others in their community.
Northern Health has seen approximately hundred Community Volunteers engaging with the program over the past 30 years, with some visiting with one resident, and others finding that meeting a group of residents has proven to be beneficial to both residents and Volunteers alike.
Pauline Chua, is one volunteer who has spent the past 16 years visiting with a number of residents from Villa Maria and Grace Villa. Pauline enjoys spending time with residents and has visited a number of them during her time with the Program.
Pauline originally started visiting others when she was 12 years old in Singapore and has continued this throughout her life in Australia. She gets great joy out of offering her time to others, and feels that a simple chat with someone and listening to their story can really make an impact.
Nancy Gionfriddo has also spent the past 16 years visiting with residents at Villa Maria. Domenica was one of these residents. Nancy enjoyed the weekly chats and developed a wonderful relationship over this time. Often they will sit together and talk about time spent in Italy or the similarities they both have. Although they were both of Italian origin, they spoke a different dialect which at times created great laughter as they tried to work out what the other was saying.
In recent weeks, CVS Coordinator, Monica Polimeni, has been visiting the volunteers at their homes to present them with a thank you card and CVS branded cookie to celebrate the 30 year anniversary.
Pictured here are Nancy Gionfriddo and Pauline Chua gratefully accepting their gifts.